The River Bandits controlled the ballgame through the first five innings. Cardenas was magnificent through five shutout frames, striking out five and allowing just three hits. Meanwhile, Jarred Bogany tripled and scored on Frederick Parejo's sacrifice fly in the second and Charlie Cutler added a solo homer in the fifth.
But while Quad Cities held a 2-0 lead through five innings, they also stranded eight baserunners during that stretch - including seven in scoring position - to keep the Lugnuts within striking distance.
Still hanging around, Lansing went to work against piggyback starter Andres Rosales in the bottom of the sixth. The righty walked two men and hit a batter to load the bases with one out. Chris Emanuele got the home team on the board with a run-scoring bounce out to short, and one batter later Mark Sobolewski drove home a pair with a bloop-single to right off the end of his bat.
Suddenly, it was the Lugnuts with a 3-2 lead.
Lansing kept rolling in the seventh, singling on Rosales's first two pitches to put men at the corners. After reliever Ramon Delgado entered the game, Tyler Pastornicky ripped an RBI-double down the left field line to keep the rally alive. Two batters later, Brian Van Kirk added a two-run single through the drawn-in infield to give the Lugnuts the decisive 6-2 advantage.
Lansing's bullpen held the River Bandits in check with four scoreless innings of one-hit baseball. Ryan Koch (1-4) earned the win with a perfect sixth inning, while Dustin Antolin (1) allowed just one hit over the final three frames for the save.
Rosales (2-4) suffered the loss for Quad Cities, giving up five runs on three hits and two walks while recording just three outs.
The loss extended a season-worst six-game losing streak for the River Bandits, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games to sink three games below the .500 mark for the first time since opening the season with three consecutive losses in Wisconsin.
UP NEXT: The River Bandits continue a 10-game road stretch with a 6:05 CT first pitch on Saturday night against the Lansing Lugnuts. Quad Cities returns to Modern Woodmen Park on June 6 to kick off an eight-game homestand, the last of the first half.